Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Venezuela: House of Many Hands

The girls (Emmie and Ellerie) and I just returned from a trip to Venezuela.  We were originally scheduled to go in July of 2012 but the trip was delayed a year because of the elections going on in Venezuela that fall.  I hope to blog about the trip and our experiences during the next few weeks.  There is so much to tell so it will probably take me several posts!

Let me tell you about this special place.  It's called El Hogar de Muchas Manos (House of Many Hands), built and supported by First Baptist Church in Valdosta, GA. Patricia Guinand and her husband, Francisco, a former bullfighter, started the home for girls in their back yard and continue to operate it.

In 2003, a small church group was meeting in a home.  During this meeting, Patricia shared with the group her desire and vision to begin a home for girls in the area, girls who had been orphaned or abandoned and needed a place to call home. My Dad, who grew up in a children’s home in Alabama, was present at that meeting.  When he heard Patricia share her heart, he was immediately touched because of how he had been raised.  The Lord pricked his heart and moved him to act.  He and First Baptist committed to make that home happen.  Since that time, other churches have started to support the amazing work happening at this special home in Venezuela.

El Hogar de Muchas Manos opened in 2005 with the capacity to house up to 20 girls.  Several girls moved in right away and they quickly reached capacity.  There are now around 54 girls, and a few little boys, living there now.  They have expanded the building to accommodate more girls in each room.  They have included space on the compound to train the girls in different skills, like cooking and cosmetology. 


The home provides shelter, food and education for these girls.  It gives refuge and hope and love.  It offers a chance to be continually exposed to the Gospel.  Patricia is an amazing woman.  Her husband, Francisco, is a man with a huge heart.  Their entire family loves these girls and has poured so much into them.  I am so thankful we had the privilege of meeting them and seeing first-hand the amazing ministry that is happening there in Venezuela.

 Francisco and Patricia!  Love them!